The Berean Expositor
Volume 13 - Page 14 of 159
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The reference to eating and drinking is incidental; the true and inner thought is
summed up in the word "content". What Ecclesiastes expressed in his way and for his
hearers Paul says to us:--
"I have learned, in whatsoever state I am to be content" (Phil. 4: 12).
The Conclusion of the Matter.
pp. 86 - 88
We have passed in review many of the outstanding features of this book, and while
many and weighty passages remain unexamined, we feel the key-thought of the book has
been discovered and applied. The quest before the writer was to discover "what is that
good" that should be the aim and portion in this life. "Let us hear the conclusion of the
whole matter".  Ecclesiastes does not leave it to his readers to draw their own
conclusions; he sets it out before us:--
"Fear God, and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God
shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or
whether it be evil" (12: 13, 14).
"FEAR GOD." ­It is fitting that this book which so emphasizes the excellence of
wisdom should conclude thus. In Prov. 1: 7 we read, "The fear of the Lord is the
beginning of knowledge", and in Ecclesiastes the fear of God is the conclusion of the
matter. The outstanding features of Ecclesiastes may be said to revolve around the
following words and themes.
1. VANITY.--We have already considered the reiterated cry of the Preacher, "Vanity
of vanities". The number of references prevents us from citing them all again; and their
scope takes in all the activities of this mortal span from birth to death. Does Koheleth
apply his "conclusion of the matter" to this? He does. "In the multitude of dreams and
many words there are also divers vanities: but fear thou God" (5: 7). "A dream cometh
through the multitude of business", says verse 3, and therefore, instead of becoming
entangled therein, "Fear God".
2. INEQUALITIES.--Over and over again the Preacher speaks of the righteous
suffering as the wicked, or the wicked prospering. He speaks of the vanity of the careful
labour of a father being dissipated by a foolish son. He further sees that the wise man
dieth as the fool, and that one event happens to all, to him that is wicked and to him that
is righteous. Does Ecclesiastes find refuge in his "conclusion of the matter"? He does:--
"There is a just man that perisheth in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man that
prolongeth his life in his wickedness . . . . . It is good that thou shouldest take hold of this.
Yea, also from this withdraw not thine hand: for he THAT FEARETH GOD shall come
forth of them all" (7: 15-18).